Dangerous Proposal to Place Disease Carriers in Detention Centers: New York State Senate Bill

People who are infected with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — as well as other contagious or communicable diseases which are determined to be a danger to the public in general — could legally be removed or placed in detention centers by the government of the state of New York, as proposed by a new bill which members of the New York State Senate are considering that “relates to the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases who are potentially dangerous to the public health” during an official public health emergency which has been declared by the governor.

Dangerous Proposal to Place Disease Carriers in Detention Centers: New York State Senate Bill

Empire State Building New York

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The bill was introduced by a Democratic member of the New York State Senate Assembly named Noah Nicholas Perry, who currently represents District 58 in Brooklyn — which is comprised of the neighborhood of East Flatbush as well as portions of Canarsie and Brownsville — as “an act to amend the public health law, in relation to the removal of cases, contacts and carriers of communicable diseases who are potentially dangerous to the public health” by adding a new section to the public health law of the state of New York to be known as 2120-A.

“Upon determining by clear and convincing evidence that the health of others is or may be endangered by a case, contact or carrier, or suspected case, contact or carrier of a contagious disease that, in the opinion of the governor, after consultation with the commissioner, may pose an imminent and significant threat to the public health resulting in severe morbidity or high mortality, the governor or his or her delegee, including, but not limited to the commissioner or the heads of local health departments, may order the removal and/or detention of such a person or of a group of such persons by issuing a single order, identifying such persons either by name or by a reasonably specific description of the individuals or group being detained”, according to the text from New York State Senate Assembly Bill A416. “Such person or group of persons shall be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises designated by the governor or his or her delegee and complying with subdivision five of this section.”

A person who has been confirmed to be infected with a contagious or communicable disease during a public health emergency — such as a pandemic or epidemic as two examples — may be detained for up to three business days “in a manner that is consistent with recognized isolation and infection control principles in order to minimize the likelihood of transmission of infection to such person and to others.” That person may be afforded an opportunity to be heard upon request.

A Look at the Latest Statistics

Mask goggles

Composite photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

The latest statistics are that at least 1,818,849 people — or slightly greater than 2.20 percent — have died of the minimum of 82,579,768 confirmed cases worldwide, according to this situation dashboard from the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus…

…and at the same time, at least 1,838,440 people — or slightly less than 2.17 percent — have died of the minimum of 84,761,360 confirmed cases worldwide, according to this situation dashboard from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

At the time this article was written, at least 346,925 people — or slightly less than 1.73 percent — have died of the minimum of 20,061,818 confirmed cases in the United States, according to this situation dashboard from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — and with an estimated population of 331,002,651 people, that means that greater than 0.10 percent of the population of the United States have died with it.

The population of the world is currently at almost 7.8 billion people. Using the higher statistics from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, that means that slightly less than 1.09 percent of the population have confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus, with slightly greater than 0.02 percent of the population having died with it.

Summary

New York skyline

Photograph ©2007 by Brian Cohen.

I do not even know where to begin with such a law if it is passed.

First, could this law potentially violate the privacy and rights of the infected person under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 — which is more popularly known as HIPAA?

Second, what exactly does the word removed mean in the bill? Will the infected person be removed from from his or her family, house, workplace, etcetera?

Third, what happens to a person who travels to anywhere in the state of New York and contracts the disease there? Does that mean that there is no recourse for the person to leave until the government determines otherwise?

Fourth, what happens if a person has been misdiagnosed with a contagious or communicable disease but has been detained or removed? Does that person get compensation or an apology? Does he or she have the right to sue the state of New York?

Fifth, what about other diseases which had been designated with pandemic or epidemic status — such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which is more popularly known as AIDS? Will people who have these diseases be “removed” or detained against their will?

Finally, do the aforementioned statistics warrant such a draconian law? Would the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic qualify? If passed into law, would the proposal actually help to significantly reduce the number of cases and deaths which are attributed to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

I think that this law far overreaches its intended goal; will potentially cause more problems than it will solve; infringes upon the rights of people who are detained; fosters and promotes discrimination; diminishes the right to privacy of individuals in general; and is dangerous to the loss of freedom of people in general.

This bill should not be passed into law, in my opinion.

All photographs ©2007, ©2015, ©2017, and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

24 thoughts on “Dangerous Proposal to Place Disease Carriers in Detention Centers: New York State Senate Bill”

  1. NB_ga says:

    Kudos for bringing light to this proposed bill… it is terrifying how the fear-mongering has led to those in power trying to take further control of our lives under the guise of protecting us. This bill would be ridiculous if this “pandemic” had actually resulted in mass fatalities. As it has not, this is simply preposterous!

  2. Barry Graham says:

    This is similar to how Hitler started. And look at the similarities between Germany then and New York now. It’s time to leave.

    1. GUWonder says:

      Give us a break with the ridiculous exaggeration, as NY is nothing like East Germany after the war or Nazi-era Germany.

      If you had been publicly critical on all of the nonsense Trump has engaged in over the years of his being in politics and how you may have been one of Trump’s “useful idiots”, perhaps then groundless hyperbole and hypocrisy would not come across as being like the lunatic rants of thy Lord Trump.

      If I become the target of law enforcement or adverse administrative action for publicly criticizing and encouraging public opposition to actions of elected governing actors in New York, then get back to me about NY being en route to pre-war and war-era Germany.

      1. Barry Graham says:

        The Nazi regime didn’t suddenly come into existence. In early years laws were to reduce the future number of genetic “inferiors” through involuntary sterilization programs. This new proposed law isn’t the first worrying sign, with houses of worship being forced to close while riots were encouraged and officials being sent to investigate people arriving from the UK. The chances of the USA evolving in the way that Germany did are small, but don’t underestimate what misguided policies can do to a state.

        Nothing that President Trump has done comes anywhere close to what has started to happen in New York since March, in the name of safety. In years to come it will be crystal clear to everyone how much better off we were to have been under his leadership than other alternatives that could have been here, and that have been in other parts of the world.

        1. GUWonder says:

          New York is nothing like Nazi Germany or even like Germany in the years leading to Hitler’s coming to elected power in Germany. I don’t expect all Americans to stop trying to insult the intelligence of the public and play to the gullible, but don’t expect people like you for being called out for ridiculous hyperbole.

          I’ve spent a substantial amount of hours reading about the rise of the uniquely evil “Third Reich” and its operations near and far to Berlin. Reading encyclopedic accounts about the rise and fall of Nazi Germany has been a big part of my past. NY is nothing like Germany during Hitler’s rise toward power or Germany during Hitler’s genocidal reign.

        2. GUWonder says:

          Trump’s politics of majoritarian identity-politics based grievances. Trump’s demonization of particular ethnic and religious minorities. Trump’s xenophobic approach toward domestic affairs and international affairs. Trump’s attempted undermining of free and fair elections. Trump’s stomping on liberal democratic ethos. Trump’s failure to respect being subject to the whims of the voting public and being subject to peaceful surrender powers to partisan opponents after losing an election. Trump’s undermining bureaucratic independence from executive intervention. Trump’s attempted politicization of the military in domestic affairs. Trump’s attacking the independence of the justice department/ministry and the federal judiciary. Behaving like he is a law into himself and those who violate laws on his behalf have the umbrella of sovereign immunity for being loyal to the leader and being a loyal member in the cult of personality.

          That’s Trump being way more like Hitler’s Nazi-fying Germany than anything going on in New York.

          1. Barry Graham says:

            I can’t really discuss this with someone who has such a view of what President Trump did and achieved. What you (or I) think isn’t going change anything so let’s just agree to disagree rather than wasting our precious time debating this.

          2. Sammi says:

            That’s what Cleaning the Swamp looks like. We had the best economy ever. Trump is for the people not self-serving politicans

      2. AlohaDaveKennedy says:

        Weren’t these same Democrats up in arms about putting illegal aliens in detention centers and now they are proposing to put American citizens in detention centers? Democrats are called the party of the jackass for good reason. Start the petitions to recall these idiots.

  3. derek says:

    Could it be like post-arrival quarantine in a hotel except for 3 days, not 14?

    How about a slightly crazy homeless person spreading Covid-19?

    1. NB_ga says:

      They would not need a bill for one crazy homeless person spreading COVID-19. I am sure there is some law on the books that would allow for the arrest of someone intentionally spreading any disease and mayhem.

      1. derek says:

        No prosecutor is going to prosecute someone spreading Covid-19 particularly if the person is careless, doesn’t wear a mask, goes shopping while sick, etc. Only, perhaps, if the person announces their intention then has obvious acting where they grab a person by the ears and cough into their face.

        1. NB_ga says:

          True. That is tacky and rude but not worthy of arrest. Or detention. People have been spreading their flu, strep, TB, measles, etc germs for decades. Poor form and unkind but not suddenly cause for a bill to allow for their detention. It feels to me like another politician using the pandemic to justify senseless legislation.

  4. GUWonder says:

    This kind of proposed approach is the worst possible approach to try to get comprehensive cooperation from the public in cooperating with public health authorities. It leads to people trying to mask symptoms, avoiding testing and avoiding use of formal healthcare facilities — all to the detriment of themselves and the general public. A a true recipe for disaster.

    Mass centers of incarceration are communicable pathogens’ romantic gateway to find way more hosts with whom to get its groove on and from there jump into the wider community at large via such centers even in rural areas.

    1. Barry Graham says:

      So I guess when it comes to it, we both agree with each other, for different reasons, that this is a really bad idea.

  5. Richard Poppen says:

    Your math is significantly in error in two places, with the result of significantly understating the severity of the pandemic in the United States, and how badly we are doing compared to the rest of the world.

    Using your input figures and your terminology throughout (except that I’m going to shorten “the 2019 Novel Coronavirus” to “COVID-19”:

    The fraction of the U.S. population that has died with COVID-19 is 346,925 / 331,002,651 = 0.001048103…, or more than 0.10%, not 0.06% as you state. If a tenth of a percent still seems insignificant, that’s more than 1 in 955.

    The fraction of the world population that has died with COVID-19 is 1,838,440 / 7,800,000,000 = 0.0002356974…, or more than 0.02%, not more than 0.10% as you state.

    The net result of your two errors is to make the U.S. per capita death rate appear to be a little more than half of the world’s (0.06% / 0.10%), when it is in fact more than 4.44 times the world’s.

    I want to also note the phrase “died with” rather than “died of”. I don’t want to impute motive to you, but I often see the phrase “died with” used to minimize the severity of the pandemic. If I knock down an old person who has osteoporosis and they break their leg, *I* broke their leg even if someone with better bones wouldn’t have suffered a fracture. Someone who is obese or asthmatic or immunocompromised who succumbs to COVID-19 has died *of* COVID-19–COVID-19 is the direct cause of the death.

    1. NB_ga says:

      It appears the minor math errors have been amended, but they don’t change the point of the article or the argument against the bill.

      As for the terminology “with” Covid-19 as opposed to “from” Covid-19… I would doubt he intends to be dismissive. However, “with” is realistically a more valid term.

      For months, the CDC reported all respiratory-related deaths – including presumed Covid deaths – as PIC (pneumonia/ influenza/ Covid) and readily expressed this designation on their website as a disclaimer. As time went on, more and more cases are listed as just Covid to the near-complete exclusion of anyone at all dying from the flu or non-Covid pneumonia. Furthermore, while Covid-19 certainly exacerbated the illnesses of many patients with extreme co-morbidities, it has also been assigned to those who entered a hospital/ hospice/ assisted-living center for end-of-life care and contracted Covid in their final days but can place none of the fault of their death on the virus.

      Unless it can be conclusively stated that 100% of all deaths noted as Covid-19 were conclusively tested and determined to be the primary cause of death, “with” is a much more accurate term with no disrespect meant to those who have lost their lives.

  6. derek says:

    Perfectly legal under HIPAA. HIPAA only applies to “covered entities”. Governments are not considered covered entities except for a government health clinic. A sheriff or CPB or FAA or air marshall do not have to follow HIPAA rules.

    1. NB_ga says:

      Thanks for that clarification… interesting to know – and terrifying that law enforcement has that reach.

  7. CBic says:

    Bills like this show the death of Common Sense, a care for our neighbor, and the inability to put the welfare of others before self. America, can we learn to sacrifice for others because we care for them so we don’t need such ‘vague’ and stupid laws? However, if we so often use our freedom for selfish gain it shows we have no common sense or self discipline. Then maybe we must try stupid laws to protect us from ourselves. Personally I wish love for others was enough.

  8. Richard Poppen says:

    I see that you have amended the article to fix most of the math errors, but you still call the U.S. death rate “less tha[n] 0.10 percent”, even though, using your figures, the rate is 346,925 / 331,002,651 = 0.001048103…, which is *more* than 0.10 percent.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Whoops!

      Thank you on all accounts, Richard Poppen. I appreciate your input; and the errors have since been corrected.

  9. eu says:

    This bill, if passed, gives the government in N.Y. the authority to remove a person from their home
    and put them in a “detention center.“ This is now Nazi Germany at its worst. Get ready for the
    Covid Concentration Camps if this bill becomes law. Your Freedoms are all gone….

    1. GUWonder says:

      New York is “now Nazi Germany at its worst”?

      You should seek out a history lesson rooted in reality so as to try to disassociate yourself from any revisionist “history” that implicitly downplays the genocidal atrocities which were part and parcel of “Nazi German at its worst”.

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